Singapore Math. The Singapore Math curriculum was selected by Craig School as a comprehensive program that meets the following criteria:
- A method that allows teachers to spend more time on introducing new skills and less time reviewing math facts previously learned but not truly mastered
- Materials that are visually compelling, concrete and uncluttered to appeal to students with attention deficit disorder
- Problem solving steps that are clearly defined with an emphasis on understanding word problems
- Practice materials that reinforce concepts and are organized so that a student may work independently
- Assessment tools that permit incoming Craig students to enter the curriculum at an appropriate level
- Teacher guides that summarize lessons, activities and problem solutions and suggest many different methods of presenting
The goal at Craig is not only to provide a systemic method of teaching math across all grades, but to facilitate the transition to a math curriculum for a student entering Craig at any grade level.
Automaticity Drills. Because processing speed affects working memory, it is important to include math drills in the curriculum that help a student process numerical information more rapidly. To this end, teachers at Craig conduct automaticity drills in the classroom such as counting in multiples both forward and backward. These drills are accompanied by hand motions to build muscle memory and are tailored to a student’s skill level. Students in 7th and 8th grade math classes are regularly given three minute tests of math facts
Assistive Technology. Two popular software programs, “Math Facts Now” and “Times Attack” help students build computational skills. Free internet programs such as “ABCYa” and Sheppard software are entertaining educational programs that allow children to work independently and help improve math skills. In addition, “Kahn Academy” and “United Streaming” offer a host of math problems for students to solve. Teachers also make use of a multitude of lessons on the SmartBoard to demonstrate math concepts.
Critical Thinking. The Problem of the Day is presented at the beginning of math class for 7th and 8th grade students. The problem is often a word problem that focuses on logical reasoning based on number patterns or sequences and students are reinforced for correct responses.
7th and 8th Grade Math. Students in the 7th and 8th grades use pre-algebra and algebra textbooks supplemented by work sheets. A host of creative exercises accompanies the textbook lessons. For example, students built a “Geo Town” using geometric solids; a string art exercise demonstrated that circles in different designs could be created by straight lines; pictures of landscapes were collected and used to help students calculate slopes; and “March Madness” provided a lesson in probability. The curriculum at this level is designed to prepare students for high school math.
Reference Sheets and Binders. Craig math teachers have developed extensive reference and resource materials from a second grade math level through to algebra that utilize the same terminology as the Singapore Math program. The resource sheets are available on the school server and are also laminated and kept in a binder for easy reference. Teachers are continually updating and redesigning these materials.
Students also have math binders with reference sheets that are color coded according to a workbook chapter. Because the sheets are laminated, the student may solve a problem by writing directly on the sheet. The system works well for place value. The binders also keep the student’s math vocabulary lists and most homework pages.
Checklists. All students have lists that require the student to review the consecutive order of math calculations such as the steps in a long division problem. These checklists are coordinated with the Singapore Math curriculum. For example, a numbered series of nine instructions beginning with “Read the word problem” and next “Underline the question”, reinforce the Singapore Math “bar model” technique to solving word problems.